SoonerSports.com link
Oklahoma Sooner YouTube Channel

Search
   
Members

Calendar

Help

Home
Search by username
Not logged in - Login | Register 
SoonerTimes Home > SoonerTimes > OU Sports > Ten predictions for 2021


Ten predictions for 2021
 Moderated by: sybil, EMan, ClintA.Adams, ArmySooner  

New Topic

Reply

Print
AuthorPost
47Straight
DEPs


Joined: Tue Aug 14th, 2007
Location: Amarillo
Posts: 8884
Country of Origin: Indian Territory
Signature: #8 in '21 - “stayin positive and testin negative”
Status:  Offline
Mana: 
 Posted: Fri Jan 8th, 2021 09:38 pm

Quote

Reply
January 3, 1926 - "People that pay for things never complain. It's the guy you give something to that you can't please." - Will Rogers
:beer::beer::beer::beer::beer::beer::beer::beer::beer::beer::beer::beer::beer::beer::beer::beer::beer::beer::beer::beer::beer::beer:

Ten predictions for 2021
NORMAN, Okla. — Oklahoma is still waiting on decisions from a few key players, but a clearer picture of the 2021 Sooners is emerging.

Following its 55-20 Cotton Bowl win against Florida, Oklahoma will enter next season as one of the hottest programs in college football.

Linebacker Nik Bonitto and defensive end Ronnie Perkins have yet to confirm their 2021 intentions. Seven scholarship players have thus far entered the transfer portal and four — cornerback Tre Brown, center Creed Humphrey, right tackle Adrian Ealy and defensive back Tre Norwood — have declared for early entry into the NFL Draft.

Here are 10 predictions for the new year of Sooners football.

1. This will be Alex Grinch’s last season in Norman.

Alex Grinch, 40, will be a head coach at this time next year. He’s been clear that he wants to be patient with his next move, and there’s also a sense that he wanted to get the OU defense right and ultimately leave it in a good place. The Oklahoma defense was, statistically, one of the better units in the FBS this season, only two seasons after being arguably the worst. Oklahoma gave up 11.6 fewer points and 103.2 fewer yards per game in 2020 than in 2018. The Sooners recorded eight more sacks and eight more takeaways in 2020 than in 2018 — and that’s with three fewer games. The Sooners are recruiting much better on the defensive side. The nephew of Missouri legend Gary Pinkel, Grinch has been a rising star in the coaching world since he became Washington State’s defensive coordinator at age 35. OU expects Year 3 under Grinch to see another rise, and if that happens, he’ll be rewarded with a program of his own.

2. OU finishes with at least 25 takeaways.

Grinch’s entire philosophy revolves around creating havoc and generating takeaways. “Takeaways equal victory,” he’s said many times. It’s a big reason why he was hired; Oklahoma had only 11 takeaways in 2018, the fewest in program history. But the Sooners followed that up in Grinch’s first year with … 11 takeaways. At the beginning of this season — as the Sooners started 1-2 — it seemed that trend would continue, and Grinch himself expressed frustration that his message didn’t seem to be getting through. But the Sooners averaged two takeaways over the final eight games, forcing eight of them in just the last three. Here’s betting Grinch’s 2021 defense gets at least 25 of them, a number that should put it in the top 15 or so nationally.

3. Spencer Rattler will be a Heisman finalist.

OK, this doesn’t require going out on much of a limb here. But an Oklahoma quarterback will again be invited to the Heisman Trophy ceremony in 2021. Rattler entered this season with Heisman hype, the result of his five-star talent as well as the unprecedented success of his three immediate predecessors. But it was easy to forget that he was still a redshirt freshman, still making the first starts of his career, and doing so in the middle of a pandemic without the benefit of a traditional spring or fall practice schedule. After throwing four interceptions in the Sooners’ two early-season losses, Rattler was mostly great the rest of the season. In the final eight games, Rattler threw for 2,054 yards, 18 touchdowns and three interceptions. He also rushed for five touchdowns in that span. Several oddsmakers released early betting odds for the 2021 Heisman race, and Rattler is right at the top.

4. OU will add at least three players from the transfer portal.

Oklahoma has lost a handful of players to the transfer portal, so don’t be surprised if Lincoln Riley dips into the portal himself. The Sooners will likely need a running back. Oklahoma is still a bit thin at cornerback. Maybe Bill Bedenbaugh wants another offensive lineman to compete for a couple of open positions. Heck, Riley may decide he wants another quarterback. Backups Tanner Mordecai and Chandler Morris both left, meaning the Sooners will have only one scholarship quarterback this spring. Even in the fall, OU would have only two after five-star freshman Caleb Williams arrives. The challenge is that quarterbacks who enter the transfer portal do so because they want to play. Riley would have to find someone, perhaps, who wants to learn the system as a way of getting into coaching.

5. Chris Murray is the next OU center.

Three-year starting center Creed Humphrey chose to declare for the NFL Draft, leaving a massive hole in the middle of Oklahoma’s usually terrific offensive line. The center position has a strong legacy at Oklahoma under Bedenbaugh. Gabe Ikard was a first-team All-American. Ty Darlington and Erik Wren are both now on the OU football staff, and Humphrey is a possible first-round pick. All four were team leaders. So the winner of this position battle will be very important. It will likely come down to Murray, who transferred last summer from UCLA and appeared in five games at guard, and Andrew Raym, a 2020 signee from Broken Arrow, Okla., who received rave reviews of his practices. In 2018, Murray became the first true freshman to start at center for UCLA since at least 1982 and ended up starting 24 games, although most of those starts were at guard. Murray will win the center job, although Raym will push for a starting spot somewhere.

6. David Ugwoegbu will declare for the 2022 NFL Draft.

Linebacker David Ugwoegbu will take the starting middle linebacker job and be so good that he declares after the season for the NFL Draft. Ugwoegbu came to OU as a pass-rushing outside linebacker, but he moved inside last offseason because of the lack of depth there and a general desire to find a way to get him on the field. He started three games, and even though DaShaun White will apparently be back next year, Ugwoegbu will be the starter. That doesn’t mean White — who has been really good! — won’t play. Grinch loves having depth and frequently rotating players in and out. Both will get plenty of snaps. But Ugwoegbu is a freak athlete. Remember his interception in Bedlam, when he tipped a pass to himself and made a diving catch?

7. Caleb Kelly will resume his rightful place as a starter.

Kelly, a former five-star prospect, announced last month that he will return for a sixth season. He has recorded 160 tackles, 11 tackles for loss and five sacks in his career, but has missed most of the last two seasons with ACL tears. Kelly came back in time to appear in the final four games of the 2019 season, then was injured again during preseason camp. He has mostly played outside linebacker during his time on campus, but was set to play the weakside position before his injury. He’ll come back, start and take home his sixth Big 12 championship ring.

8. Marvin Mims will make a serious run at the Biletnikoff Award.

Mims burst onto the scene in 2020 as a true freshman, earning second-team All-Big 12 honors with 37 receptions for 610 yards and nine touchdowns, a new OU freshman record. The Sooners will have a ton of talent at wide receiver next season, making this prediction a little shaky. Maybe Trejan Bridges, Jadon Haselwood or Theo Wease becomes Rattler’s top target. Don’t forget about incoming freshmen Jalil Farooq, Cody Jackson and Mario Williams, who are all ranked 122nd nationally or better according to the 247Sports Composite. But Mims and Rattler seemed to have something this season. I’m guessing that only gets stronger, and if Mims is Oklahoma’s No. 1 receiver, he’ll be in the discussion for the award that honors the nation’s top receiver.

9. Rivalry winning streaks will continue.

Oklahoma will beat Texas for the fourth consecutive time and Oklahoma State for a sixth consecutive time. The Sooners’ two rivals are both going to have some rebuilding to do. The Longhorns are breaking in a new quarterback and a new head coach. Texas fired Tom Herman and hired Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian, which could eventually make for some compelling Red River games — Riley versus Sarkisian might be a points bonanza — but the Sooners will win in 2021. Oklahoma State is replacing several key players, including running back Chuba Hubbard, wide receiver Tylan Wallace, linebacker Calvin Bundage and cornerback Rodarius Williams.

10. Oklahoma will finally win a semifinal.

Yes, key players still have decisions to make, but even if all the remaining holdouts choose to leave, Oklahoma will not only return to the College Football Playoff next season, but win a game there. I’m not necessarily predicting the national championship, but the Sooners have been to the Playoff now four times without winning a game. OU came painfully close in the 2017-18 Rose Bowl against Georgia, but none of the other semifinals were particularly close. It’s created a narrative around Oklahoma that it can win the Big 12 but can’t hang when it comes up against a powerhouse in the Playoff. The Sooners will begin to change that narrative in 2021.

Walt
DEPa


Joined: Fri Apr 13th, 2007
Location: The High Plains Of NW Oklahoma.
Posts: 15757
Country of Origin: 
Signature: 
Status:  Offline
Mana: 
 Posted: Fri Jan 8th, 2021 09:56 pm

Quote

Reply
Of the ten predictions, I predict that the odds of them happening is 50/50.

47Straight
DEPs


Joined: Tue Aug 14th, 2007
Location: Amarillo
Posts: 8884
Country of Origin: Indian Territory
Signature: #8 in '21 - “stayin positive and testin negative”
Status:  Offline
Mana: 
 Posted: Fri Jan 8th, 2021 10:04 pm

Quote

Reply
Walt wrote: Of the ten predictions, I predict that the odds of them happening is 50/50.IMHO the most likely to happen is #3 and the least likely is #6.

WishBone
DEPs


Joined: Wed Jul 25th, 2018
Location: Unfortunatlely, Arkansas USA
Posts: 1767
Country of Origin: United States
Signature: Texas Still Sucks
Status:  Offline
Mana: 
 Posted: Fri Jan 8th, 2021 10:35 pm

Quote

Reply
#7 Most Likely
#10 Probable

ClintA.Adams
DEPa
 

Joined: Tue Jul 24th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 16344
Country of Origin: 
Signature: 
Status:  Offline
Mana: 
 Posted: Sat Jan 9th, 2021 12:04 am

Quote

Reply
OU's offensive line was a far bigger reason for Rattler not being a Heisman finalist than Rattler was. Hopefully the line will be improved next season. I want to see 300+ passing and 200+ rushing per game. If OU does that, at worst, they win their first playoff game factoring in the defense.

soonerBAS
DEPs
 

Joined: Fri Nov 17th, 2017
Location:  
Posts: 1685
Country of Origin: 
Signature: 
Status:  Offline
Mana: 
 Posted: Sat Jan 9th, 2021 03:52 pm

Quote

Reply
I hope number 7 happens, kid has had his share of bad luck deserves a break and if he comes back at full speed this defense could really be a good fit with him.


 Current time is 06:26 am




Powered by WowBB 1.7 - Copyright © 2003-2006 Aycan Gulez